Director: Asger Leth
Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris
UK Release date: 3 February 2012
Certificate: 12A (102 mins)
Nick Cassidy is an ex-cop and a fugitive from Sing Sing. Having been wrongfully convicted, he is determined to prove his innocence by stealing the very diamond whose supposed theft had caused his imprisonment – while standing on the ledge of the 21st floor of a Manhattan hotel. In order to do this, he enlists the help of his younger brother, Joey; Joey’s Mexican girlfriend, Angie; and the unsuspecting police psychologist, Lydia Mercer.
Man on a Ledge is very straightforward. There is never any doubt, for example, that Nick is as innocent as he claims or that his scheme will ultimately prove successful. In fact, the plot is refreshingly simple. Nick stands on a ledge, pretending to be a potential suicide in order to distract authorities from the illegal activities taking place in a building nearby, where Joey and Angie must find the diamond before the police discover Nick’s true identity and employ tactical response to capture him. Nearly the entire film takes place within a very confined area of Manhattan and alternates between three points of view: with Nick on the ledge, following Joey and Angie’s progress, and listening in on the police.
Much of storytelling is about balance and timing, and Man on a Ledge deals skilfully with both. The simplicity of the plot allows the story to develop quickly without leaving the viewer behind, but it is not overly simple because that would be too boring. There are enough strategically placed plot twists to raise the tension at the right moments. And none of the twists are of the far-fetched sort which make you leave the cinema feeling disappointed and not a little betrayed. Strangely enough, it is the almost complete predictability of much of the film which makes it so enjoyable. You can sit back and enjoy a good heist film without working hard to keep track of things.
But this is no ordinary heist film. Joey and Angie are not seasoned jewel thieves. They are ordinary people and probably the best part of the film. Although they are very capable young people, they are far from professional. Their banter is natural and delightful and gives that necessary real element to a story which is completely unrealistic. Their relationship and their obvious lack of familiarity with the task at hand also provide vital comic relief. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez work well together and create a strong enough presence to balance against the heavier tone of the scenes out on the ledge with Nick and Lydia Mercer.
Man on a Ledge hits the right tone for this sort of film. It does not take itself too seriously. There is no attempt at any message or deeper meaning, and even the most dramatic moments are handled with a light touch.
Man on a Ledge is not an award-winning film. It is not even a particularly memorable film. But it is a solid piece of movie making that achieves the first aim of any film: to tell a good story. It is great fun and a good time out at the cinema. And sometimes, that’s all you really want.
Visit this film's IMDB page